2015 Reading Challenge: Mid-Year Check-up
I am actually a little ashamed of myself this year. After an extremely successful 2014 reading challenge, in which I not only read the alphabet, but read 10 books beyond my 30 book goal, this year’s challenge is not going so well.
To refresh your memory, oh faithful reader, I embarked this January 1st on a quest to read 40 books during the calendar year, many fitting into specific categories. If you’re good at math, you know that means I need to read just under 4 per month, and that, at August 1st, I should have read at least 23. In reality, I’ve read a paltry 15.
What’s worse is that I’ve barely scratched the surface of my many categories, which I set up in an effort to diversify my reading. I’ve avoided classic novels like the plague for most of my reading life, and they continue to be troublesome even with 7 slots wholly dedicated to them. So far the only one I’ve managed to fill is the “classic” half of “The Classic & The Modern”. I chose Little Women, since there were a handful of interesting modern versions available, and Jane Austen has her own category. Oddly enough, I’ve chosen the books I’ll read to fill the rest of them, and they’re taking up a great deal of space on my bookshelves. I just haven’t managed to force myself past all the easy distractions in between.
So, about that diversity … how am I doing? Well, I suppose the answer to that is … okay. Of the 15 books I’ve read so far this year, 10.5 of them have been written by women (one was co-written by a man). Three of them have been written by someone outside my country, though so far no books in translation. Where I’m failing pretty miserably is race. I’ve only read two books so far by someone of a different race than myself, and they were both written by the same author. It’s a little pathetic, honestly. Someone suggest some books by non-white authors!!!
When I’m not stressing out about the number of books I’ve read, or what categories they fit into, I’m actually really enjoying this year’s reading adventures. It started off surprisingly well, with Erin Morganstern’s The Night Circus. This book completely surprised me by how much it pulled me in. It took a couple short stints of reading before I got sucked up, but I remember sitting down to read for an hour, and suddenly realizing it was 5 hours later, I was starving, and I had finished the book.
M R Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts was also surprising, but for a very different reason, having much more to do with the way he teased out the story, and certainly the ending. I approached this book assuming it was something completely other than what it ended up being, and I’ve never been more glad to be so wrong.
I’ve also been surprised by how many non-fiction books I’ve read this year, and by how many more I’ll likely read before the year is out. It’s something that started last year, and with the number of amazing memoirs out there, not the mention my newfound fascination with social and political journalism, there’s no end to the number of these books I could, and probably will, enjoy in the future.
All-in-all, while I’m pretty far behind in my goal for the year, with some discipline I could still make it. I start a hefty book this week, Anna Karenina, which will fill the “book I’m a little afraid of” category, but I’ll have to be certain to read a classic a month if I want to start filling in the gaps. Ultimately, though, it just comes down to perseverance.